Restrain the Greedy // Prayer Paintings 2018
ANOTHER FOR EVENING by Robert Louis Stevenson
Lord, receive our supplications for this house, family, and country. Protect the innocent, restrain the greedy and the treacherous, lead us out of our tribulation into a quiet land.
Look down upon ourselves and upon our absent dear ones. Help us and them; prolong our days in peace and honour. Give us health, food, bright weather, and light hearts. In what we meditate of evil, frustrate our will; in what of good, further our endeavours. Cause injuries to be forgot and benefits to be remembered.
Let us lie down without fear and awake and arise with exultation. For his sake, in whose words we now conclude.
The paintings in this series grew out of my need to keep painting and to keep making a kind of beauty that is meaningful to me, even though the United States ( and the world!) is facing a dark time poisoned by authoritarian threats. It was important to me that my artwork was not just another form of materialistic escapism. The creation of these was therapeutic for me and living with them has been nourishing. I experience them as visual prayers that wisdom will prevail.
The series Restrain The Greedy came first, and takes its title from a prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson (printed above). I longed for a benevolent and all powerful goddess to step in and make the bullsh*t stop. This series was fueled in particular by fury, outrage, and anguish over the criminal actions of the current administration separating immigrant children from their parents. In these paintings you'll see strong female leaders of all sorts: Athena-like huntresses, Valkyries, Boadicea, Liberty in many forms. I wanted to see active heroic women. I suddenly developed an extreme aversion to depicting women in the way I'd painted in the past, which I realized were modeled on the ways my favorite male Artists had painted women: Usually nude and lounging passively. A refrain repeated in my head as I painted that was something like "I want ACTIVE. I want CHANGE. NOT Passive."
I created Strange Flowers for Dark Times because somehow flowers are always a good idea for the human soul: whether someone is mourning or celebrating, flowers add something tender to our experience of the moment. I wanted these flowers to be beautiful, but to also reflect the trauma of living through these chaotic times of violence, climate catastrophe and greedy power grabs. They were inspired by The Botanic Garden printed in England by Benjamin Maund from 1825-1851.